UPDATE: Ropes at swimming holes will be removed at Pocket Wilder - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Ropes at swimming holes will be removed at Pocket Wilderness after rescue

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Rescue personnel say it took four hours and over 60 first responders to rescue a 26-year-old woman at the Pocket Wilderness on Mowbray Mountain.

Amy Maxwell with Hamilton County Emergency Services tells Channel 3 multiple agencies were dispatched around 5:45 p.m. Sunday on reports a woman suffered a possible leg fracture at the "Green Hole." The swimming hole is about one to two miles from the entrance of the trails. On Monday, park officials planned to enter the woods to dispose of the ropes that hikers use to swing on near the “Blue and Green Hole” swimming areas.

The woman, who is from Lincoln, Neb., was visiting her boyfriend from Ringgold, Ga. Officials say the couple went swimming at Blue Hole Sunday. The woman let go of the rope too early and struck the rocks below before landing in the water. She fractured her leg from the fall.

"It's an unbelievable strain. We had multiple multiple agencies here yesterday," says Assistant Chief Dusten Woodard with Mowbray Volunteer Department.

Between 60 and 70 rescue workers were called in to rescue a 26-year-old woman from the green hole, a swimming hole at least a mile past where the trail ends and a little bit further past the spot where a young man broke his back last year.

"As she swung down she was too far down on the rope and hit her foot and leg and obviously that's what caused the injuries," says Woodard.

Woodard says so much manpower is needed to make the exhausting hike and to make sure the patient gets out safely.

"We have two, three, four hundred pounds of equipment that has to come out with you. So automatically your weight has tripled," says Woodard.

"It's a pretty rigorous hike," says Stepheny Hine.

Hine just happened to be swimming with a friend nearby when the accident happened.

"We hadn't been there 30 seconds and we just hopped in the water and I heard a bunch of people talking about how they needed service," says Hine.

She called 911 and helped guide rescue workers to the woman.

"I hope she's okay and I hope she's doing well because it sounded pretty terrible. We could hear her screaming and stuff. I hope she made it out alright."

Almost five hours later, rescuers were able to carry her out of the woods.    

"I really wish people would use a little more thought before doing a lot of things," says Woodard.

State Park Rangers spent the day walking the trails cutting down any ropes.

"If you get hurt just remember it's not like dialing 911 at your house. You're not going to be at the hospital in 20 minutes. It's not going to happen," says Woodard.

On average, Woodard says they perform about ten rescues every summer. 

A spokesperson with Tennessee State Parks tells Channel 3 rope swings are not authorized in state parks.

Park rangers do remove them to ensure the safety of park visitors. Depending on the situation, park rangers will issue a warning or a citation.


Responding agencies assisted the Mowbray Volunteer Fire Department include Sequoyah Volunteer Fire Department, Sale Creek VFD, Chattanooga - Hamilton County Rescue for rehab and Walden's Ridge Emergency Services for rope rescue and ATVs. Flat Top VFD, Lewis Chapel VFD, Dunlap Fire Department, and Hamilton County STARS are also assisted.
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